Social Justice and Whistleblowing: Creating a Better World in the Workplace

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 18:30
Location: Hörsaal 10 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Tina UYS, Sociology, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
While the notion of social justice has increased in prominence in the 21st century, it is not an idea that immediately springs to mind when considering issues related to whistleblowing. However, it could be argued that the processes linked to and the outcomes flowing from whistleblowing are directly related to social justice concerns, in particular those of democratization and human rights.  Whistleblowing can be defined as a disclosure of perceived non-trivial organizational wrongdoing by an organizational insider, in other words, someone with privileged access to an organization’s information, to someone who is perceived to be in a position to take action.  These disclosures generally result in retaliation by members of the organization where the wrongdoing is being exposed.  While whistleblowing is clearly an attempt to rectify something that is going wrong - of promoting an ethical workplace - it is also an issue of rights and justice.  An ethical workplace is fundamentally one that implements principles of fairness of processes, outcomes and the treatment of organizational members.  The focus of the paper is on considering factors that would encourage organizational members to act against the abuse of power and corruption in organizations through blowing the whistle, and thereby restoring justice in the organization.  It also considers the implementation of processes that would ensure fair treatment of whistleblowers that would ultimately result in a workplace where organizational justice reigns supreme.